Hiram College President-Elect Dr. Lori Varlotta

Hiram College announced on Feb. 4, 2014, that Dr. Lori Varlotta will succeed Thomas V. Chema as the institution’s 22nd president. She is Hiram’s first woman president.

Varlotta, a Pittsburgh native, brings 29 years of experience as a university administrator to Hiram College. She is currently senior vice president for planning, enrollment management and student affairs at California State University, Sacramento, where she has spent the past 11 years.

During her career, Varlotta has tackled some of higher education’s most pressing issues: retention and graduation, planning and budgeting, transparency and accountability, health and wellness. At California State University, Sacramento, she leads a team of more than 500 full-time faculty and staff members in 30 departments, focused on enrollment, retention, educational equity, student life and athletics  Her accomplishments include the following:

  • Building an enrollment management team that continually hits fast-changing enrollment targets.
  • Recruiting and enrolling the most diverse student class in Sacramento State history.
  • Co-chairing the campus’s graduation and retention initiative, leading to increased retention in several cohort areas.
  • Creating and implementing an outcomes-based assessment program that has been replicated on campuses across the country.
  • Opening “The WELL,” California’s most integrated collegiate recreation and wellness facility.
  • Establishing a nationally acclaimed student veterans program.
  • Designing and overseeing a comprehensive student-athlete resource center.

Varlotta is an active voice in the conversation on higher education, both in the state of California and nationwide. She has published extensively on the topics of higher education assessment and accountability, and she participated in the design and implementation of the country’s first voluntary system of higher education accountability, a project called College Portrait. She has been a regular contributor to the Western Association of Schools & Colleges, participating on reaccreditation teams and serving as an assessment consultant and mentor at several Western Association meetings.

Varlotta began her higher education career as a resident director and peer tutor advisor at Robert Morris College, and worked her way up to the following administrative positions prior to serving at California State University, Sacramento. 

  • Dean of Student Life at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
  • Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of San Francisco
  • Director of Leadership and Service-Learning at Miami University (Ohio)
  • Director of Student Activities and College Union at the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford

Varlotta is a first generation college student, with degrees in philosophy and education. She earned her B.A. in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame (1985), her M.S. in Cultural Foundations of Education from Syracuse University (1990) and her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership’s Interdisciplinary Program from Miami University (1997).


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